One-on-One Laptop Project will provide global demands for 21st Century-skilled labour force

St. Kitts and Nevis Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports, Information Technology, Telecommunications and Posts, Hon. Glenn Phillip making a statement in the National Assembly on Thursday (photo by Erasmus Williams)

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MARCH 17TH 2011 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ One 2 One Laptop Project Initiative for fifth form students and their teachers and education administrators in all secondary schools across the Federation, is a move towards and beyond ICT literacy to information literacy could be firmly in place.

“The laptops have been procured and of 1,200 ordered for phase 1,989 are presently securely stored pending distribution to the fifth formers of the Federation. The government of St Kitts and Nevis partnered with Hewlett Packard (HP) to provide the first 1,200 laptop PCs and after some delay the HP 5103 netbooks with capacitive touch screens are on the ground,” Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports, Information Technology, Telecommunications and Posts, Hon. Glenn Phillip told the National Assembly on Thursday.

He said while the procurement and distribution of laptops to teachers and students is a necessary phase to effectively realize the goal of expanding on-going computer literacy efforts in primary and secondary schools into information literacy (which is the “ability to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information”), the success of the One 2 One Laptop Project Initiative would only have been realized if the technology required to create the environment needed for the development of an information literate student is provided,” said Minister Phillip.

He noted that to accomplish this, the Ministry of Education with the guidance of the IT Department has partnered with Microsoft.

“This partnership is captured in the MOU (Partners in learning) signed in January 2011which states as it’s vision: ‘The Ministry of Education and Microsoft recognize the need to improve access to and use of information and communications technology (“ICT”) in primary and secondary education in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis (St. Kitts and Nevis) . The MOE and Microsoft recognize the value of technology in schools in St. Kitts and Nevis and seek to jointly improve both access to, and the use of, ICT for the support of teaching and learning in such region. The MOE and Microsoft understand the power of an international exchange of information. The MOE and Microsoft understand the need to make this vision a scalable, sustainable reality in St. Kitts and Nevis’,” said Minister Phillip.

He said that the “Partners in learning” agreement seeks to provide schools, governments and partners with resources, training, expertise and technology blueprints that help create schools to better prepare students for life and work in the 21st century; provide teachers with tools, forums and resources that build communities of practice, support collaboration and access to quality content, and challenge educators to integrate ICT into teaching and learning in a meaningful way; empower students to use ICT in their schoolwork and learning.

“Seeking to facilitate the connectivity required for the collaboration and information sharing requisite for innovative schools, teachers and students, the IT Department has leveraged funding opportunities to provide both wired and wireless networking environments at each high school,” said Minister Phillip.

He pointed out that through a partnership with the NTRC and use of the Universal Service Fund, the IT Department in St. Kitts and Nevis seeks to provide a first phase of WIFI hotspots to allow for internet access at the high schools and a second phase in the creation of a comprehensive education network (EduNET), allowing for a managed wide area network connecting all of the Federation’s high school enabling access to network services like video conferencing, VOIP, and Learning Management Systems.

Minister Phillip said that the One 2 One Laptop Project Initiative sought to realize the development of ICT human resource and capacity building, with focus on the information society approach, in an attempt to press beyond the realm of ICT literacy towards the shaping of life-long learners in an information and learning culture.

“By touching the lives of students, teachers, school administrators and parents the Initiative seeks to meet global demands for a labour force equipped with “21st Century skills” necessary to function in the emergent “knowledge economy” and “information society, thus remaining competitive in the new global dispensation,” Minister Phillip told the lawmaking body.

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